James Taylor Quartet to play Brooklyn Bowl
- Alex Johnston
- 16 September 2015
This article is from 2015.
Organ-driven jazz-funk quartet to play London's most glittering bowling alley
The James Taylor Quartet has announced a date in the Brooklyn Bowl, the bowling alley situated in London's O2.
The jazz-funk quartet rode the coat-tails of the late-80s craze for 60s jazz, gaining popularity with their 1987 debut single, a juked-up version of Herbie Hancock's theme music for Antonioni's 1967 movie of the same name, played in the manner of Sounds Incorporated wigging out on dodgy German amphetamines. However, the JTQ's biggest hit and signature tune is 1988's majestic 'Theme from Starsky & Hutch', a Hammond-dominated cover of Tom Scott's hugely funky 'Gotcha', full of blaring brass and wailing police sirens. (The title is technically a misnomer: 'Gotcha' didn't become the theme music for the celebrated 70s cop show until its second season onwards, replacing Lalo Schifrin's actual 'Theme from Starsky and Hutch', which the producers considered not enough fun.)
JTQ's 'Theme from Starsky and Hutch' wasn't the only retro-flavoured hit of its time, but its sheer verve helped spark the revival of interest in 70s jazz-funk which endures today: as one YouTube commenter said, 'it makes you want to jump into a swimming pool wearing a really big cardigan.'
The enduring popularity of the JTQ is partly due to the leader's canny choice of repertoire, but also because despite many personnel changes, the band has always featured fine players. Taylor has been a guest organist on recordings by musicians as diverse as Manic Street Preachers, the Pogues and U2.
The Hammond organ in jazz has always leaned towards pop and soul: the music of Jimmy Smith and Richard 'Groove' Holmes felt right at home when sampled by the Beastie Boys, and Medeski, Martin and Wood flirted rather awkwardly with hip-hop in their early years, but as time goes by it seems that even immensely talented straight-ahead jazz organists like Larry Young or Barbara Dennerlein are the exception; the true keepers of the flame, like the James Taylor Quartet, are all about stoking the crowd.
The James Taylor Quartet play: Streetlife, Leicester, Fri 2 Oct; O2 Arena, Fri 13 Nov; and St Paul's Centre, Worthing, Thu 10 Dec. Tickets on sale now.